Summary: God is speaking to you through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and He wants you to hear.
July 18, 2010
Text: Romans 8:1-17
Subject: Hearing from God
Title: The Witness of the Spirit
If you weren’t here last Sunday night you missed out on the beginning of a short series. How many of you know that God wants to speak to you at all times in every aspect of your life? We learned last Sunday evening that the #1 way and the most foundational way that God will speak to His children is through the written word. As you read through the word you will have a sense of knowing within you that a certain passage or verse is for you and that it is relevant for you right now.
Also, we learned that it is vitally important for you to know the bible. The less time you spend in the word the more likely you are to fall for the lies of the enemy. Conversely, the more time you spend in your bible the stronger you will become in your faith. Now, it’s not an automatic. You can’t just pick up your bible and begin reading it like a novel. You must read expecting God to reveal Himself to you as you read. That is another reason that it is important to be in church when you can. The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to truth when you hear the preaching of the word. It happened last Sunday morning as shared by several on Sunday evening. When I preached from Philippians 2, about how there is such power in the name of Jesus, and that at the “name” of Jesus every knee should bow (other translations say shall, will or even must bow) in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father… Every time you pray in Jesus’ name you not only use His authority, but the name itself sets the enemy reeling… For some of you that revelation became real and it works. That is the witness from the word of God and it is the fundamental way that God speaks to His children.
But today we want to go a step further. The bible is the foundation but it is not the only way that God wants to speak to you. He will speak to you by the Spirit in your spirit. That is where the problem lies. Many have not reacted properly to that inner witness to the point that they know for sure that it is the Holy Spirit. Many times we think that it is just us.
That is where I want to take you today – to the place where you can understand the difference between the carnal man and the witness of the Spirit.
You can know that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church…
I. RECOGNIZING DIFFERENT VOICES. Let’s begin with this thought. In this world there are voices that come at you from every direction. There are the voices of the world, your friends and family, the TV news, society. There are voices of the devil and his demons. And there is your own inner voice – your thoughts and emotions, the non-physical part of your natural man. And last but not least there is the voice of the Holy Spirit. They all want to speak to you. How do we separate the voice of the world and satan and even our own voice from the Spirit of the living God? Verse 1 and 2 give us a clue. 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Now I want you to understand this, ultimately there are only two voices speaking. The first is the voice of your enemy the devil and he will use your friends and family and even your own mind if you let him to lead you away from where God wants you to be. Look at the first few words in verse 1… . 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation… There is nothing better that satan likes to do than to convince the people of God that they are hopeless, helpless and hapless. This is your lot in life and you ought to just be quiet and accept it like a good Christian. You can’t do anything. God doesn’t work like that. You see, condemnation isn’t just about sin. If you are in Christ your sin is washed away and you know it. What it is about, is what it says in verse 2. 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death… The law of the Spirit of life is the witness of the Holy Spirit with your spirit concerning God’s will and plans that are set aside for you. He wants you to ask Him for direction and guidance in every step of your life. But the law of sin and death is what satan tells you is right. You should be able to do just what seems logical and everything will turn out OK. That’s walking in the natural and that is what the devil tried to do with Jesus in the desert. “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”; If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone…; Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” All these things seemed logical from a natural standpoint. Satan was saying, You don’t have to be hungry, God will always protect you, and you can have everything by taking the short cut. Jesus had an answer for him every time. It is written, it is written, it is written… after spending forty days fasting and praying it was the Holy Spirit that was speaking to Him so that He could know what God’s will was for His life. That is the Law of the Spirit of life and it is centered in the spirit man. Doing what seems right, just responding according to everything you have learned from your life experiences, your own understanding, and your present circumstances, that is the law of sin and death and that is centered in the natural man. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. I really want to stress this to you today; the focus of this passage is not whether you are going to sin or not sin. We know that Jesus has removed the stain of sin from the life of all who believe in Him. The Law was powerless because it required that we do something in the natural that couldn’t be done – keep the whole law. But Jesus took that requirement away from us at the cross. For those who trust in Him, the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Again, the focus isn’t on whether we choose to sin or not to sin. The focus is whether we choose to listen to what the Spirit is speaking to our spirit or what the devil is speaking to our minds. How do you tell the difference? Did you ever have that inner witness that you just knew that you had to do something? You wake up in the middle of the night knowing that you have to pray for someone. You sense in your spirit that you need to go visit someone. Or, this is the hard one, you sense the prompting that you need to go and share salvation with that person over there. If you are depending on the Holy Spirit to lead you and teach you, you won’t be led into sin. The Holy Spirit won’t do that. That is where your knowledge of the word comes into play. You see, if Jesus had not known the word satan’s logic could have duped Him into taking a wrong path. You must recognize the voices that are speaking to you. Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice…